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101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California regulates cow farts on: December 01, 2016, 07:02:55 PM

How did we ever survive the buffalo?
102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Representative Keith Ellison: Eh tu CNN? on: December 01, 2016, 07:00:33 PM
103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Has ADL been lurking on our forum? on: December 01, 2016, 06:52:46 PM
second post

IPT Story Prompts ADL to Retract Ellison DNC Endorsement
by IPT News  •  Dec 1, 2016 at 4:21 pm

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's 2010 comments about Israeli political influence, first reported Tuesday by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, are "deeply disturbing and disqualifying" to his bid to become head of the Democratic National Committee, the Anti-Defamation League announced in a statement Thursday afternoon.

In remarks given at a private fundraiser, Ellison, D-Minn. implied Israel enjoyed disproportionate and inappropriate control over U.S. foreign policy. The IPT obtained a recording of those comments:
"The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes. Can I say that again?"

In Thursday's statement, ADL chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said Ellison's comments expose a belief that American policy is driven not by the country's best interests, but by "religiously or national origin-based special interests ... Additionally, whether intentional or not, his words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government, a poisonous myth that may persist in parts of the world where intolerance thrives, but that has no place in open societies like the U.S."

Greenblatt defended Ellison last week against criticism of his past association with the Nation of Islam and his close relationships with Islamist groups like the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), both of which were created by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ellison "long ago ... disassociated himself from the [Nation of Islam] and apologized for its anti-Semitism," Greenblatt wrote. And, "we have seen no concrete evidence of any link between Ellison and the Brotherhood."

"He has been outspoken about anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in his role as a congressman. Local Jewish leadership in his district speaks highly of him," Greenblatt wrote.

But the 2010 comments exposed by the IPT changed all that. Bipartisan support for Israel, "our most important ally in the region, a democracy whose emphasis on equality and commitment to the rule of law stands in stark contrast to the anarchy and authoritarian regimes that prevail in much of the Middle East" is vital, Thursday's statement said. The next head of the Democratic Party should "have fidelity to these timeless ideals at all times."
The DNC is expected to choose its next leader in early 2017.
104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Zombie Hillary on: December 01, 2016, 06:50:56 PM
105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: December 01, 2016, 06:45:33 PM
Third post

Mad Dog for Sec Def!!!
106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Representative Keith Ellison in Saudi Arabia on: December 01, 2016, 06:42:50 PM
107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Not so minor on: December 01, 2016, 03:23:28 PM
108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: December 01, 2016, 03:22:02 PM
second post
109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: December 01, 2016, 03:17:19 PM
Romney would be a big mistake IMO.  Such a choice would badly damage Trump's brand and his loyalty could never be trusted-- he is an alpha wannabe and of a temperament that would find it hard not to stab Trump in the back , , , for the good of the country of course.

PS:  Newt ripped him a new anus last night (on Hannity?).  I don't have the quote handy, but quite the the zinger!

Not only has Petraeus shown absolutely extraordinary diplomatic skills in putting together the Surge (e.g. the Anbar Awakening) in Iraq and also in Afpakia.  Also he has a PhD from Princeton in International Relations.  His time at CIA adds to his depth.  A true warrior-scholar.  Trump appears to want Matthis as Sec Def, so for once there would be mutual respect between State and Defense!

As for his security blemish, let's review the facts as I remember them:  It was hard copy-- no risk of hacking.  The recipient, who was , , , ahem , , , particularly well known to him, , , had Secret clearance, just not Top Secret clearance.  There was ZERO corruption.

Caught a snippet of Bolton today and he was speaking in terms of carrying out the President's policies (i.e. not his).
110  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Aparezco en la Revista Budo on: December 01, 2016, 02:59:10 PM
111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 01, 2016, 01:32:59 PM
"He will finally get the recovery he has been predicting the last years. It must be very exciting for him!"

And we will be very glad the apocalypse we have been predicting the last 8 years has not come to be.  evil
112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: December 01, 2016, 01:31:10 PM
113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: December 01, 2016, 01:30:30 PM
I am glad that Rand Paul is back in the Senate.  His perspective is an important part of our overall mix, but , , , I would be quite happy with Petraeus as Sec. State.

FP is very much a Democrat publication, and the whining of the cookie pushers at Foggy Bottom in the article impresses me not a bit. 
114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues on: December 01, 2016, 01:26:01 PM
No worries, just being my usual Thread Nazi self  cheesy  Take it as a compliment.  It means I want the post to be findable down the road.
115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bret Baier: Ike and JFK on: December 01, 2016, 01:24:58 PM
116  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Sign Up now! on: December 01, 2016, 01:14:57 PM
117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / AATF: Medical Marijuana Card holders may not own guns on: November 30, 2016, 08:50:15 PM
118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media, Ministry of Truth Issues on: November 30, 2016, 08:24:41 PM
Wrong thread.

This belongs Legal Issues, Homeland Security and Freedom, Intel, Legal Issues, or the Sovereignty thread.
119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Group calls for beheading Egypt's Al Sisi on: November 30, 2016, 08:22:28 PM
Brooklyn Imam Linked to Qaradawi Group Calls for Sisi's Head
by John Rossomando  •  Nov 30, 2016 at 6:15 pm

A Brooklyn imam issued what appeared to be a call to behead Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi last Wednesday at an event sponsored by the pro-Muslim Brotherhood group Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ).

Sisi has led Egypt since a July 2013 coup toppled the Muslim Brotherhood government led by then-President Mohamed Morsi. Brotherhood supporters in the United States have condemned the move, which was prompted by massive street protests against Morsi's rule. They demand his reinstatement.
  • nce people pledge allegiance to a Muslim ruler, it is forbidden to struggle against him and remove him, and if anyone removes him, he should be beheaded," Islamic Society of Bay Ridge imam Sheikh Mohamed Elbar told the EAFJ gathering in Arabic. "Do you know who ought to be beheaded? Who should be stricken with the sword or hanged or detained? He who came to fight, and not the legitimate president [Morsi]."

The Investigative Project on Terrorism obtained a recording of the event, held at the Muslim American Society (MAS) Center in Brooklyn.

Elbar belongs to the International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by radical Muslim Brotherhood cleric Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi.

Qaradawi issued a similar threat against Sisi on Al-Jazeera shortly after the 2013 coup: "f he, who has disobeyed the ruler, does not repent, then he must be killed. There is a legitimate ruler (in reference to Morsi) and people must obey and listen to him."

Elbar's mosque has a long track record of extremism dating back to the 1990s. "Brooklyn Bridge Shooter" Rashid Baz, killed Hasidic student Ari Halberstam in 1994 after hearing a sermon at the mosque calling for revenge on Jews for an incident in Hebron.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time EAFJ was connected to threats of violence against Egypt's military leaders.

In February 2015, EAFJ board members Hani Elkadi and Mahmoud El-Sharkawy, who appeared alongside Elbar and Sharaby at last week's event, each posted a communiqué from the Popular Resistance Movement (PRM) which has launched attacks against Egyptian police and other targets.

It features an image of a blood-red map of Egypt with a fist superimposed over it. It claims responsibility for targeting two police cars. "God, martyrs, Revolution," it said.

PRM claimed joint responsibility with ISIS's Sinai Province for an attack near Cairo that left eight police officers dead last May.
120  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Steven Seagal on: November 30, 2016, 08:14:53 PM
I see that SS is now a Russian citizen.

121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tablet magazine goes after Ellison, defends Trump/Bannon on: November 30, 2016, 01:30:34 PM
122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Grannis: Closing the Obama Gap on: November 30, 2016, 01:28:53 PM
123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's legacy on: November 30, 2016, 10:48:30 AM
124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: November 29, 2016, 11:53:32 PM
Only on condition that it is , , , platonic.
125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Donald Trump and the thirteen stripes on our flag on: November 29, 2016, 06:28:49 PM
126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Castros' atrocities on: November 29, 2016, 06:20:40 PM
Haven't read this yet, posting it for reference:
127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: November 29, 2016, 04:14:05 PM
Is this the guy who would like to see and end to the Fed someday?  Didn't Steve Bannon come from GS?
128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 911's mastermind in his own words on: November 28, 2016, 08:09:08 PM
129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Prager: Merry Christmas! on: November 28, 2016, 07:20:43 PM
130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Umberto Eco: 14 Common Features of Fascism on: November 28, 2016, 03:58:46 PM
131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury: Give thanks for the coming boom on: November 28, 2016, 03:13:52 PM
132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ohio State attacker believed to be Somali on: November 28, 2016, 03:02:18 PM
133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Big POTH piece on Steve Bannon on: November 28, 2016, 11:10:44 AM
134  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA 2017 Winter Camp on: November 28, 2016, 12:01:14 AM
DBMA WInter Camp with Punong Guro Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
When: January 21-22
Where: "The Academy" Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills (This is Rigan Machado and Martin Wheeler's school-- it is very nice!) For those not from the area, Beverly Hills hotels can be rather pricey (think Eddie Murphie in Beverly Hills Cop!) so for those so inclined the plan is for people to stay in the Hermosa Beach area and share rides to The Academy.
What: "Die Less Often Anti-Knife"
Price: to be decided; as always, discount for LEO/Military/ and DBMA Assn members

The Knife/Anti-Knife material has evolved quite a bit in recent years, and now includes quite a bit more than the Dog Catcher. Whereas normally in a weekend seminar DLO Dog Catcher is but 1/2 day so as to cover Real Contact Stick Fighting, Kali Tudo, etc. the focus here will be anti-knife in a DBMA playful "If you see it taught, you see it tested" way. We want you to go home with your game lastingly improved!

The progression will be good for all backgrounds: those with little to no knife background, law enforcement, military, as well as seasoned weaponry players.

Attendance will be limited to 30.

Details to follow soon
135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / "Why I left White Nationalism" on: November 27, 2016, 03:58:32 PM
136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russian Subversion in Montenegro on: November 27, 2016, 03:53:39 PM
137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Noonan: Donald, you should sell out on: November 27, 2016, 01:09:00 PM
 By Peggy Noonan
Nov. 24, 2016 5:17 p.m. ET

The other day I experienced a flash of alarm. There was a claim from an Argentine journalist that when the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, phoned Donald Trump to congratulate him on his election victory, the talk turned to permits for the building of a Trump skyscraper in Buenos Aires. Mr. Macri’s press officer quickly and sharply denied the report: “They didn’t talk about the tower at all. It’s absolutely untrue.” So did the Trump transition office. The journalist apparently offered no proof. The story more or less ended there.

But what alarmed me was this question: Does Donald Trump know he can’t ever have a conversation like this? Does he fully understand that a president can never use the office, its power and influence, for his own financial enrichment? That he can’t, however offhandedly, both do business and be president? That future and credible reports that he had engaged in such a conflict of interest would doom his presidency? And that solving the question of his businesses and their relation to his presidency is urgent?

This week, in an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Trump was not reassuring. When pressed on how, exactly, he means to distance himself from his business interests, he couldn’t stop himself from promoting a few of them: “We just opened a beautiful hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said. “The brand is certainly a hotter brand.”

“In theory, I can be president of the United States and run my business 100%,” he said, adding that he is “phasing that out now.” “In theory I don’t have to do anything. But I would like to do something. I would like to try and formalize something, because I don’t care about my business.”

He said, “I’ve greatly reduced meetings with contractors, meetings with different people.” Thank goodness for that. He’s the president-elect.

He noted that presidents are exempt from conflict-of-interest laws, but “I understand why the president can’t have a conflict of interest now because everything a president does in some ways is like a conflict of interest, but I have—I’ve built a very great company and it’s a big company and it’s all over the world. People are starting to see, when they look at all these different jobs, like in India and other things, No. 1, a job like that builds great relationships with the people of India, so it’s all good.” Business partners come in, they want a picture, “I think it’s wonderful to take a picture.”

Might he sell his businesses? “That’s a very hard thing to do, you know what, because I have real estate.” Selling real estate isn’t like selling a stock. “I don’t care about my company. I mean, if a partner comes in from India or if a partner comes in from Canada, where we did a beautiful big building that just opened, and they want to take a picture and come into my office, and my kids come in and I originally made the deal with these people, I mean what am I going to say? ‘I’m not going to talk to you,’ ‘I’m not going to take pictures’?”

Yes, that’s exactly what you say! I’m not going to pose with you because I will soon be president of the United States and the prestige of that office precludes taking the picture you’ll soon use in your brochure.

In the interview Mr. Trump was not defensive—he was garrulous, forthcoming as to his thought processes, and yet he seemed curiously unaware as to the urgency of the subject.

If he is not aware it is crucial, the reason may come down to five words: the habits of a lifetime.

For half a century Donald Trump has devoted all his professional energies to money, profit, the deal. That is how he thinks: It’s his deepest neural pathway. He’s a free-market capitalist who started with a lot and turned it into more. He created jobs, employs many. Good! But that’s his mind: money, profit, the deal. He has brought up his children to enter his business. Whatever else they do, they have surely absorbed the family ethos.

And now, for the first time in his life, money, profit, the deal is not his job.

He will be president of the United States. He can’t help the family business as president. He can’t help his children make a living as president.

He has to be losing money as president and putting personal profit motives behind him. Which means putting the ways and habits of a lifetime behind him.

Because he’s entered something much bigger: the presidency. History. The welfare of the republic.

That’s his job now, and it requires sacrifice.

I don’t know if there’s anyone around him who can convince him that the attitude with which he’s operated for 50 years must end, and something wholly new and different begin.

But whoever does must be aware of this:

The press, which wants to kill him, is going to zero in on his biggest weak spot: money, profit, the deal. Democrats too will watch like hawks. And this is understandable! Presidents shouldn’t ever give the impression things aren’t on the up and up. And Mr. Trump campaigned saying he’d dismantle the rigged system, drain the swamp, fight the racket.

The press does not believe, not for a second, and Democrats do not believe, not for a second, that Mr. Trump will be able to change the habits of a lifetime. They are relying on it.

Mr. Trump shocked them by winning. He should shock them now with rectitude.

Financial sophisticates know and explain how complicated all this is. Mr. Trump can’t establish a blind trust because blind trusts normally consist of stocks, bonds—liquid assets. Mr. Trump’s wealth is in famous entities, in his brand. He knows where his buildings are, his past and current deals are.

He said when campaigning that if elected he’d turn the business over to his children. But that would require never talking to them about matters touching on the central family ethos: money, profit, the deal.

The editorial page of this newspaper offered a sound though difficult route: Mr. Trump should liquidate his stake in his company and put the proceeds in a true blind trust, in which the Trump children keep the assets in their name. He can “transfer more to them as long as he pays a hefty gift tax.” A fire sale on real estate would no doubt be seized upon by buyers like Donald Trump—people looking for the greatest asset at the lowest price. But it’s hard to see how any other plan would help Mr. Trump avoid endless accusations that he is enriching himself as president, that he is, in fact, a dopey kleptocrat who can’t help doing what he does.

It would be a painful act, selling the business he loves and around which he has ordered his life. But there would be comfort in this: In doing the right thing, in denying his opponents a sword, in enhancing his stature and demonstrating that yes, he will sacrifice for his country.

That’s pretty great comfort.

You’ve made your money. Now go be a patriot.
138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Substituting "Black People" for "Men" in feminist article on: November 27, 2016, 01:04:51 PM
second post
139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Idiocracy on: November 27, 2016, 12:49:09 PM
140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / McFarland and others on: November 27, 2016, 12:38:23 PM
second post

KT McFarland is a very good choice.
141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cuban Health Care on: November 27, 2016, 12:36:49 PM

When I was in Cuba in 1980 the two pharmacies I saw were virtually devoid of anything.
142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH: Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President on: November 27, 2016, 10:02:17 AM
143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump's energy proposals on: November 27, 2016, 09:59:57 AM
For environmental reasons, I confess that arctic drilling makes me very uneasy.  It is a formidably dangerous environment and sooner or later Murphy will come to visit and stopping a leak under those conditions (look at how hard it was to stop things in the Gulf of Mexico) could have devastating consequences for one of the few remaining relatively pristine environments on the planet.


A Trump U.S. Energy Boom
The next President can open Arctic and Atlantic drilling that Obama has shut down.
Photo: Getty Images
Updated Nov. 26, 2016 2:45 p.m. ET

Donald Trump this week released a video detailing the plans for his Administration’s first 100 days, and one bright spot is his agenda for American energy. The President-elect promised to peel away government obstacles, and he will have plenty of work after President Obama’s eight-year regulatory onslaught.

“I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs,” Mr. Trump said in his two-minute clip. “That’s what we want, that’s what we’ve been waiting for.”

Here’s one place to look: Last week the Obama Administration finished a five-year plan for offshore drilling contracts and canceled planned leases in the Arctic through 2022. That retreat is a reaction to protests from environmental groups, which melted down after a March Bureau of Ocean Energy Management draft included a sliver of drilling in the frozen North.

Leases off the Atlantic Coast were already excluded, and green groups hope Mr. Obama will make these diktats permanent under an arcane clause of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. But that executive overreach is unlikely to stand up in court.
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Mr. Obama says there’s no reason to drill in the Arctic because oil prices are so low, as if the government can predict energy prices five or 10 years from now. The Arctic region is thought to hold 90 billion barrels of oil, and up to 30% of the world’s untapped natural gas. Exploration and drilling would create thousands of jobs, and most resources lie in relatively shallow waters fewer than 100 meters deep.

Regulation is already crushing: A report last year by the National Petroleum Council noted that a company needs permits from some 12 federal and state agencies merely to dig an exploration well in the Arctic. Recall that Shell spent seven years and $7 billion trying to exploit leases it had already paid for off Alaska’s Arctic coast before giving up. Russia is already exploring in the Arctic and won’t be deterred by American moralizing.

The Trump Administration may be tempted to cancel the Obama plan, but that would blow up leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet included in the outline. This means the new Administration would have to put out a new plan, say, for 2019 through 2024, that would supersede earlier orders. That will probably take at minimum 18 months, though both the Atlantic and Arctic regions have recently undergone environmental-impact evaluations, which should expedite the process.

The Obama Administration intends to make these drilling regulations as calcified as possible, and the Arctic is the tip of the iceberg. But more than 85% of area offshore controlled by the federal government is closed to exploration. Mr. Trump can unlock this potential, which would be a gusher for global consumers and American economic growth.
144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cuba on: November 26, 2016, 09:40:22 PM
So, Fidel became a good communist on Black Friday , , ,  evil
145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cuba on: November 26, 2016, 05:05:45 PM
146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump and the Rep Party in California on: November 26, 2016, 05:05:17 PM
147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on Castrol finally dying on: November 26, 2016, 02:43:02 PM
Nov. 26, 2016 2:42 p.m. ET

Fidel Castro’s legacy of 57 years in power is best understood by the fates of two groups of his countrymen—those who remained in Cuba and suffered impoverishment and dictatorship, and those who were lucky or brave enough to flee to America to make their way in freedom. No progressive nostalgia after his death Friday at age 90 should disguise this murderous and tragic record.

Castro took power on New Year’s Day in 1959 serenaded by the Western media for toppling dictator Fulgencio Batista and promising democracy. He soon revealed that his goal was to impose Communist rule. He exiled clergy, took over Catholic schools and expropriated businesses. Firing squads and dungeons eliminated rivals and dissenters.

The terror produced a mass exodus. An April 1961 attempt by the CIA and a small force of expatriate Cubans to overthrow Castro was crushed at the Bay of Pigs in a fiasco for the Kennedy Administration. Castro aligned himself with the Soviet Union, and their 1962 attempt to establish a Soviet missile base on Cuba nearly led to nuclear war. The crisis was averted after Kennedy sent warships to intercept the missiles, but the Soviets extracted a U.S. promise not to invade Cuba again.

The Cuba that Castro inherited was developing but relatively prosperous. It ranked third in Latin America in per-capita daily calorie consumption, doctors and dentists. Its infant mortality rate was the lowest in the region and the 13th lowest in the world. Cubans were among the most literate Latins and had a vibrant civic life with private professional, commercial, religious and charitable organizations.
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Castro destroyed all that. He ruined agriculture by imposing collective farms, making Cuba dependent first on the Soviets and later on oil from Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela. In the last half century Cuba’s export growth has been less than Haiti’s, and now even doctors are scarce because so many are sent abroad to earn foreign currency. Hospitals lack sheets and aspirin. The average monthly income is $20 and government food rations are inadequate.

All the while Fidel and his brother Raúl sought to spread their Communist revolution throughout the world, especially in Latin America. They backed the FARC in Colombia, the Shining Path in Peru and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Their propaganda about peasant egalitarian movements beguiled thousands of Westerners, from celebrities like Sean Penn and Danny Glover to Secretary of State John Kerry, who on a visit to Havana called the U.S. and Cuba “prisoners of history.” The prisoners are in Cuban jails.

On this score, President Obama’s morally antiseptic statement Saturday on Castro is an insult to his victims. “We know that this moment fills Cubans—in Cuba and in the United States—with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” Mr. Obama said. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.” Donald Trump, by contrast, called Castro a “dictator” and expressed hope for a “free Cuba.”

Mr. Obama’s 2014 decision to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations has provided new business opportunities for the regime but has yielded nothing in additional freedom. Americans can now travel and make limited investment in Cuba but hard currency wages for workers are confiscated by the government in return for nearly worthless pesos. In 2006 Forbes estimated Fidel’s net worth, based on his control of “a web of state-owned companies,” at $900 million.

The hope of millions of Cubans, exiled and still on the island, has been that Fidel’s death might finally lead to change, but unwinding nearly six decades of Castro rule will be difficult. The illusions of Communism have given way to a military state that still arrests and beats women on their way to church. China and Russia both allow more economic freedom. The regime fears that easing up on dissent, entrepreneurship or even access to the internet would lead to its inevitable demise.

Castro’s Cuba exists today as a reminder of the worst of the 20th-century when dictators invoked socialist ideals to hammer human beings into nails for the state. Too many Western fellow-travelers indulged its fantasies as long as they didn’t have to live there. Perhaps the influence of Cuba’s exiles will be able, over time, to reseed the message of liberty on the island. But freedom starts by seeing clearly the human suffering that Fidel Castro wrought.
148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NRO: Progressives without power on: November 26, 2016, 01:03:11 PM
 Progressives without Power
Hard times for the Sanctimonious White Lady Party
By Kevin D. Williamson — November 26, 2016

A very nice liberal broadcaster asked me earlier this week whether I am worried about the future of the Republican party.

Funny question.

There are 25 states in which the state legislatures and governorships are controlled by Republicans, and two states with executive/legislative divides in which there are Republican legislative majorities large enough to override a veto from the Democratic governor. Sixty-eight of the country’s 98 partisan state legislative chambers are Republican-run. There are only four states with Democratic governors and legislatures; it is true that these include one of our most populous states (California), but the majority of Americans live in states in which there are Republican trifectas or veto-proof legislative majorities. Two-thirds of the nation’s governors are Republicans; more than two-thirds of our state legislative houses are under Republican control. Republicans control both houses of Congress and have just won the presidency.

Democrats control the dean of students’ office at Oberlin.

And Democrats have responded to their recent electoral defeat with riots, arson, and Alex Jones–level conspiracy theories. Progressives have just raised $5 million to press for a recount in several states. Clinton sycophant Paul Krugman, sounding exactly like every well-mannered conspiracy nut you’ve ever known, says the election “probably wasn’t hacked,” but “conspiracies do happen” and “now that it’s out there” — (who put it out there?) — “an independent investigation is called for.”

Maybe it isn’t the Republican party whose future needs worrying about.

In one sense, what is happening in American politics is a convergence of partisan styles.

Beginning with the nomination of Barry Goldwater, and thanks in no small part to the efforts of many men associated with this magazine, the Republican party spent half a century as a highly ideological enterprise. But highly ideological political parties are not the norm in the English-speaking world, especially not in the United States, and the conservative fusion of American libertarianism, social traditionalism, and national-security assertiveness probably is not stable enough to cohere, having now long outlived the Cold War, in which it was forged. Trump’s lack of conservative principle is unwelcome, but it points to an ideological looseness that is arguably more normal, a return to the model of party as loose coalition of interest groups.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are becoming more ideological, or at least more openly and self-consciously ideological, as the party’s progressivism becomes more and more a catechism. This has the effect of making the Democratic party less democratic. American progressives have a long and genuine commitment to mass democracy, having supported not only various expansions of the franchise but also many instruments of direct democracy such as the ballot initiative, but they also have a long and genuine commitment to frustrating democracy when it gets in the way of the progressive agenda, which is why they have spent the better part of a century working to politicize the courts, the bureaucracies, and the non-governmental institutions they control in order to ensure they get their way even when they lose at the ballot box. Democrats did not pay much attention when they started suffering losses at the state level, because they were working against federalism and toward a unitary national government controlled from Washington. And they did not fight as hard as they might to recover from their losses in Congress while Barack Obama sat in the White House, obstructing Republican legislative initiatives and attempting to govern through executive fiat — an innovation that the Democrats surely are about to regret in the direst way.

For the moment, the stylistic convergence — the Republicans becoming a little more like the selfish-coalition Democratic party, and the Democrats becoming a little more like the ideological Republican party — works to the Republicans’ advantage, though there is no reason to believe that always will be the case. The GOP had a very good run of it as a highly ideological enterprise.

The longer-term problem for the Democrats is that they are finding out that they have to play by their own rules, which are the rules of identity politics. This is a larger problem for the Democratic party than is generally appreciated. The Democratic party is an odd apparatus in which most of the power is held by sanctimonious little old liberal white ladies with graduate degrees and very high incomes — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Randi Weingarten — while the manpower, the vote-power, and the money-power (often in the form of union dues) comes from a disproportionately young and non-white base made up of people who, if they are doing well, might earn one-tenth of the half-million dollars a year Weingarten was paid as the boss of the teachers’ union. They are more likely to be cutting the grass in front of Elizabeth Warren’s multi-million-dollar mansion than moving into one of their own. They roll their eyes at Hillary Rodham Clinton’s risible “abuela” act, having actual abuelas of their own.

As in the Republican party, the Democrats have a restive base that is more radical than its leadership, more aggressive, and in search of signs of tribal affiliation. The Democratic base is not made up of little old liberal white ladies with seven-, eight-, and nine-figure bank balances, but the party’s leadership is. It is worth noting that in a year in which the Republican candidate painted Mexican immigrants with a rather broad and ugly brush, Mrs. Clinton got a smaller share of the Hispanic vote than Barack Obama did in 2012. She got a significantly smaller share of the black vote, too. Interestingly, Mrs. Clinton’s drop in the black vote came exclusively from black men. Many black Americans had very high hopes that an Obama administration would mean significant changes in their lives and in the state of their communities. but that has not come to pass. There is nothing about Mrs. Clinton that inspired similar hopes. “She’s not right, and we all know it,” the comedian Dave Chappelle said.

It is far from obvious that Senator Cherokee Cheekbones or anyone standing alongside Debbie Wasserman Schultz will feel more “right” to Democratic voters who have almost nothing in common with them. A coalition in which elderly rich white faculty-lounge liberals have all the power and enjoy all the perks while the work and money come from younger and browner people is not going to be very stable.

Especially when it has been stripped of the one thing that has held that coalition together so far: power.

— Kevin D. Williamson is National Review’s roving correspondent.

Editor’s Note: This piece has been emended since its publication.
149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: C. De Muth: A Trump-Ryan Constitutional Revival on: November 25, 2016, 11:45:18 PM
This piece is addresses themes we have explored here previously and IMHO is worthy of serious contemplation.

A Trump-Ryan Constitutional Revival
Wariness of Trump might inspire Republicans in Congress to give up lazy delegation and relearn the art of legislating.
By Christopher DeMuth
Nov. 25, 2016 5:11 p.m. ET

A central purpose of the American scheme of checks and balances is to draw out the distinctive strengths of the two political branches, executive and the legislature, while containing their distinctive weaknesses.

The scheme has not been working well of late. The consequences are unbridled executive growth into every cranny of commerce and society, and a bystander Congress. We have lapsed into autopilot government, rife with corruption and seemingly immune to incremental electoral correction.

These pathologies were a significant cause of the Trumpian political earthquake. And one of the many astonishing results of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Republican sweep on Election Day is that they have set the stage for a constitutional revival.

No, not by President Trump’s nominating and the Senate’s confirming Scalia-worthy constitutionalists to the Supreme Court and lower federal courts. That prospect was widely understood and apparently on the minds of many voters. Rather, the new president and Congress are poised to revive constitutional practices in their own branches.

One of these practices is results-oriented policy making—so-called transactional politics—an approximation of what the Founders meant by “deliberation.” Another, “checks and balances,” is vigorous policy competition between the executive branch and Congress. Both practices have fallen into disuse in what had seemed, until now, to be a continuing downward spiral of dysfunctional government.

A standard complaint about Washington politics is that it has become hyperpartisan and gridlocked. The complaint is lodged by Democrats and Republicans when they are not getting their way, and they are right. The federal government is frequently hostage to ideological posturing in both parties and pre-emptive rejection of compromise with the evildoers in the other party. Recent examples include ObamaCare—a huge (in the pre-Trump sense of the term) expansion of the welfare state enacted on strictly partisan lines; the collapse of the 2011 Obama-Boehner debt-reduction deal following a White House stab at new tax increases; the Ted Cruz-inspired 2013 government shutdown; and the constant Tea Party sabotaging of the Republican leadership at the least hint of legislative compromise.

Spectacles such as these have given rise to a new school of political realism, led by Jonathan Rauch,Richard H. Pildes,Frances E. Lee and other scholars. Their essential argument, in Mr. Rauch’s words, is “that transactional politics—the everyday give-and-take of dickering and compromise—is the essential work of governing and that government, and thus democracy, won’t work if leaders can’t make deals and make them stick.”

The realists vary in their personal politics. They are united in understanding that, in a nation of diverse and conflicting views, civil peace and productive government require more than trumpeting one’s own positions and seeking to defeat one’s opponents at the ballot box. They also require accommodation through dialogue, negotiation and practical compromise.

The Trump insurgency was long on trumpeting. The president-elect fought his way to victory with unorthodox, fiercely controversial policy positions, insulting criticism of his opponents and the Washington establishment, brazen defiance of every canon of political correctness and a taste for overstatement and talent for entertainment.

All of this was, however, accompanied by a strong basso continuo: the candidate’s business experience, financial independence, and fabled prowess at negotiation and “the art of the deal.” Office seekers always say that their particular experience is what the times require, but Mr. Trump was doing more. When reporters complained that his brief, broadly worded tax-reform proposal lacked specifics, he replied dismissively that detailed campaign position papers are media fodder of little interest to voters. If he were elected, the specifics would depend on negotiations among “me and lots of congressmen and lots of senators.”

In combination, candidate Trump’s audacious policy positions, belligerent rhetoric and zest for deal making seem designed to establish his bona fides as the people’s own Washington wheeler-dealer. The postelection reports on his “backing off” or “reneging” on some of his campaign commitments miss the larger dynamic. The Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito reports that many Trump voters are also thorough political realists who trust their man. The president-elect, in his election night remarks, insisted that his victory would be as “historic” as everyone was proclaiming only if he did a “great job” parlaying it into practical results.

In attempting to make great on his electoral triumph, President Trump will not have the reflexive support of party stalwarts on Capitol Hill that his recent predecessors have enjoyed. His triumph in the Republican primaries was a hostile takeover. He treated congressional Republicans and their leaders with contempt throughout the campaign. Many of them made clear the feeling was mutual, and some refused to support him.

The bruises will heal to some extent—and practicing politicians have to be impressed at how the outsider’s bold proposals and roughhouse style attracted millions of new voters. Yet sharp differences will remain. While some of the president-elect’s positions are solidly Republican (ObamaCare replacement, tax reduction, deregulation), others are nervous-making departures (immigration) and some are outright heresies (trade protectionism, antitrust activism, public-works projects). And Mr. Trump’s aversion to entitlements reform has undercut House Speaker Paul Ryan’s long and careful preparations for finally facing up to the problem.

Under the circumstances, Congress is bound to recover and assert many of its long-neglected legislative prerogatives. In recent decades, our scheme of separated powers has been supplanted by party solidarity between presidents and their congressional co-partisans. (“Separation of Parties, Not Powers” is the title of an influential 2006 study of this development by Daryl J. Levinson and Richard H. Pildes.)

Members of Congress have increasingly acted out of loyalty to party rather than to Congress as an independent constitutional branch. They support or obstruct administration initiatives along partisan lines, and when in support they receive fundraising and bureaucratic favors from the president in return. During periods of party-unified government, congressional majorities delegate broad lawmaking powers to the executive, as in the Affordable Care and Dodd-Frank acts, that are almost impossible to recover when divided government returns. Congressional minorities allied with the president, employing the Senate filibuster and other supermajority rules, ensure that Congress turns a blind eye to executive abuses, as in the recent IRS and Veterans hospital scandals.

Party partisanship is one (not the only) cause of the emergence of unilateral executive government. That’s where the president and the hundreds of agencies reporting to him exercise legislative powers that previously required congressional action. But our new president is more populist than partisan, and the Republican Party has suddenly become, thanks to him, a true big-tent party, as heterogeneous and raucous as the Democratic Party of the mid-20th century.

If the congressional Republicans want to be full players in this new dispensation, they are going to have to reinstitute annual budgeting and appropriations for executive-branch agencies. This is essential for calibrating how the funds are spent, and also for using “budget reconciliation” to begin reforming the Senate’s incapacitating supermajority rules.

If they want to participate in charting new courses for health-care, tax and immigration policy and financial regulation, they are going to have to give up lazy policy delegation to the executive and relearn the arts of legislating and collective choice. And if President Trump should try to settle these and similarly momentous matters through Obama-style executive decrees, they are going to have to cry foul and make it stick.

The hard intraparty contention of the 2016 campaign has prepared the congressional Republicans for this. President-elect Trump’s obvious relish for transactional politics, and the largeness of his ambitions, suggests that he is prepared as well. The likely evanescence of Barack Obama’s Congress-free domestic and foreign initiatives—the already voided immigration policies, the Clean Power Plan, the Iran deal, national rules for bathroom etiquette—should inspire everyone to stay at the table. It is true that candidate Trump expressed admiration for President Obama’s executive unilateralism. But it is also true that Congress often resorts to equally dubious micromanagement of executive-branch operations. Herein are the makings for a mutually productive entente.

These would be healthy developments for our constitutional order. Presidents have the strengths of action, decisiveness, high aspiration and a national political mandate—along with the weaknesses of overreaching, insularity and concentration of power. They oversee a bureaucratic empire too vast for any one man to keep track of, and so powerful that abuse and corruption are commonplace.

Congresses have the strengths of full-spectrum political representation, 535 state and local mandates, and responsiveness to shifting popular concerns and a soft spot for human-rights minorities at home and abroad—along with the weaknesses of parochialism, irresolution, decision-by-committee and herd mentality.

We need more of the strengths and less of the weaknesses. But transactional politics and interbranch rivalry are no guarantee of happy outcomes, which depend ultimately on the constitution of the participants. The record of tough-guy political outsiders is less than great. Businessman Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, and muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, came to office promising to upend the status quo. But when they discovered how entrenched and hard-bitten the status quo really was, they promptly folded, contented themselves with mere celebrity, and accomplished nothing.

A separate risk is from the bipartisan innovation, going back to the 1970s, of continuous borrowing and increasing debt to sustain popular entitlement spending for the time being. Relaxing the fiscal constraint—the need to match spending on current consumption with current tax revenues—can make results-oriented political bargaining all too easy. With these and other temptations abundant in modern politics, we may say that constitutional government is a necessary but not sufficient condition of democratic recovery.

Mr. DeMuth is a distinguished fellow at Hudson Institute. He was formerly president of the American Enterprise Institute and worked at the White House and Office of Management and Budget in the Nixon and Reagan administrations.
150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Bolton or Petraeus for Sec Def on: November 25, 2016, 11:36:43 PM
 Donald Trump’s presidential transition hit a squall this week over his potential selection of Mitt Romney as Secretary of State. Opposition to Mr. Romney among some Trump campaign advisers has broken out in public, while former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is playing up his campaign loyalty to Mr. Trump as he lobbies to be America’s top diplomat.

Our preference would be Mr. Romney over Mr. Giuliani, but if the debate is that disruptive then Mr. Trump would be better off going to someone else. Choosing Mr. Romney would reassure U.S. allies and signal that Mr. Trump is reaching across the GOP to populate his Administration.

Yet more than a few Trump loyalists mistrust Mitt for his caustic criticism of Mr. Trump during the GOP primaries. They fear he won’t be loyal if he gets the job, though presumably the two men would hash that out in advance. One virtue of choosing Mr. Romney would be to get his candid views, and if his loyalty would always be in question for doing so, then he shouldn’t take the job.

As for Mr. Giuliani, his campaign role isn’t by itself enough to earn such a crucial post. The former prosecutor lacks foreign-policy experience and his extensive list of overseas business clients could become a confirmation problem if they aren’t thoroughly vetted. Another question is whether Mr. Giuliani could manage a State Department bureaucracy that would oppose him and the Trump agenda.

Which leads to other potential choices. One is John Bolton, who was a senior and successful State Department official under Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. He understands the job, and he knows from hard experience the tricks that the State bureaucracy plays. He has a blunt style that we suspect Mr. Trump might find refreshing.

Another name worth considering is former General and CIA Director David Petraeus. The architect of the 2007 surge that defeated al Qaeda in Iraq, Mr. Petraeus has a far-reaching strategic vision and long experience massaging allies and staring down foes. He understands when diplomacy is required but also when military force is needed to achieve diplomatic goals.

Democrats might make an issue of Mr. Petraeus’s misdemeanor conviction for turning over classified information to a biographer who was also his paramour. That mistake cost him his job at CIA. But he has apologized and paid a price, and the U.S. shouldn’t be denied his talents for that one mistake.

His selection could also put three former generals atop the main foreign-policy portfolios, along with former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and the widely mooted choice of former Gen. James Mattis to run the Pentagon. Gens. Mattis and Petraeus are about as widely read and strategic thinkers as you’ll find, in or out of the military, so this strikes us as a needless concern.

More important is the message these choices would send to allies and adversaries. Mr. Trump is inheriting a far more dangerous world than any President since Ronald Reagan. Authoritarians are pressing to dominate Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Western Pacific. As a Commander in Chief who will be getting his own on-the-job training, Mr. Trump needs counselors who know their briefs from the first day. At least on national security, experience should trump loyalty.
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